President Shirley Ann Jackson hosted a colloquy and signing ceremony on April 11 to help kick off the new Rensselaer Engineering Education Across Cultural Horizons program, or REACH.
The program, one of the first of its kind in the nation, will integrate a semester-long international experience into Rensselaer’s undergraduate engineering curriculum. In the spring of 2009, around 100 engineering students will study abroad at partner universities. That number will increase through 2015, until REACH will be fully implemented and all engineering juniors will be expected to participate in an international experience.
At the event, President Jackson signed a memorandum of understanding with Technical University of Denmark (DTU) Rector Lars Pallesen. DTU and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore are the first universities to partner with Rensselaer for the REACH program. Rensselaer is currently seeking out additional potential partner universities elsewhere in Europe and Asia, as well as Central and South America, Australia, and Africa.
The presidential colloquy, titled “A Global Reach in a Shrinking World,” examined the importance of international education, the opportunities and challenges of multicultural education, and how to best engage current and prospective students about the importance of a meaningful international experience as part of their education.
Participating in the colloquy were President Jackson; Rector Pallesen; Lim Mong King, professor and senior adviser on globalization to President Guaning Su at Nanyang Technological University; Sabine O’Hara, former Rensselaer economics professor and vice president of the Institute for International Education; and Sean O’Sullivan ’85, founder of SOSventures Investments Ltd., JumpStart International, and MapInfo Corp.
A day before the signing ceremony and colloquy, the School of Engineering held a student reception to convey information and answer questions about the REACH program. At the reception, environmental engineering major Rebecca Moore ’08 spoke about her semester abroad in rural Mexico, and Jeff Lamborn ’08 talked about his time at NTU in Singapore.
Also at the reception, Jeffrey Green and Lauren Spinelli won a raffle drawing for free airfare to Denmark or Singapore should they participate next year in the REACH program.
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